Individual budgets are intended to give us more control over the way we choose and fund our care.
The Department of Health is currently running a pilot programme around the introduction of personal health budgets. A personal health budget is an amount of money provided to an individual to fund a care plan which is agreed between the person and their local NHS team. It is hoped that these individual budgets will enable people with long term conditions or disabilities to have greater choice, flexibility and control over the healthcare and support they receive.
The pilot programme is currently running with around half the primary care trusts in England and is due to finish this year. You can see if your primary care trust is taking part in the pilot on the Department of Health website. Results will be released in October 2012 and if successful the programme will be rolled out nationally.
How much is the budget
Because everyone who qualifies for an individual budget will have different care and support needs, each budget is set according to the specific requirements of the individual in question. If you are applying for an individual budget, you will be asked to complete a simple assessment. This assessment tells your local authority care provider what support it would normally provide and how much this costs. This is called a resource allocation. You can then see clearly how much money is available to meet your care needs and plan how you would like to use it. In doing this you will need to draw up a care plan – this will help you plan how to use the money and avoid making a bad choice.
You can manage this money yourself or, if you prefer, find someone else willing to take it on. If you do manage it yourself you will need to keep records of how you have spent the money – your care manager can help you with this.
You can find more information about budgets on the Department of Health website. Alternatively you can contact your local authority with any questions – you can find the number in your local phonebook.